AIDA f Arabic, Literature
Variant of AYDA
. This name was used in Verdi's opera Aida
(1871), where it belongs to an Ethiopian princess held captive in Egypt.
ALADDIN m Literature
Anglicized form of ALA AL-DIN
. This is the name of a mischievous boy in one of the tales of The 1001 Nights
. A magician traps him in a cave, but he escapes with the help of a genie.
AMINTA m Literature
Form of AMYNTAS
used by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso for his play Aminta
(1573). In the play Aminta is a shepherd who falls in love with a nymph.
AMIRAN m Georgian, Literature
Variant of AMIRANI
. This is the name of the central character in the medieval Georgian romance Amiran-Darejaniani
by Moses of Khoni. The author was inspired by the mythical Amirani and the stories surrounding him, and loosely based his tale on them.
ARAGORN m Literature
Meaning unexplained, though the first element is presumably Sindarin ara
"noble, kingly". This is the name of a character in The Lord of the Rings
(1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien. In the book Aragorn is the heir of the Dúnedain kings of the north.
ARAMIS m Literature
The surname of one of the musketeers in The Three Musketeers
(1844) by Alexandre Dumas. Dumas based the character on the 17th-century Henri d'Aramitz, whose surname was derived from the French village of Aramits (itself from Basque aran
ARMIDE f Literature
French form of ARMIDA
. This is the name of operas by Jean-Baptiste Lully (in 1686) and Christoph Willibald Gluck (in 1777), both of which were based on Jerusalem Delivered
by Torquato Tasso.
ARWEN f Literature
Means "noble maiden"
in Sindarin. In The Lord of the Rings
(1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Arwen was the daughter of Elrond
and the lover of Aragorn
ARYA (2) f Literature
Created by author George R. R. Martin for a popular character in his series A Song of Ice and Fire
, published beginning 1996, and the television adaptation Game of Thrones
(2011-2019). In the story Arya is the second daughter of Ned Stark, the lord of Winterfell.
ASTAROTH m Literature
, the plural form of ASHTORETH
used in the bible to refer to Phoenician idols. This spelling was used in late medieval demonology texts to refer to a type of (masculine) demon.
ASTROPHEL m Literature
Probably intended to mean "star lover", from Greek αστηρ (aster)
meaning "star" and φιλος (philos)
meaning "lover, friend". This name was first used by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney in his collection of sonnets Astrophel and Stella
ATTICUS m Literature, Ancient Greek (Latinized)
Latinized form of Greek Αττικος (Attikos)
meaning "from Attica"
, referring to the region surrounding Athens in Greece. This name was borne by a few notable Greeks from the Roman period (or Romans of Greek background). The author Harper Lee used the name in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird
(1960) for an Alabama lawyer who defends a black man accused of raping a white woman.
AVTANDIL m Georgian, Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for his 12th-century epic The Knight in the Panther's Skin
. Rustaveli based it on Persian آفتاب (aftab)
meaning "sunshine" and دل (del)
meaning "heart". In the poem Avtandil is a knight who is sent by Tinatin
to search for the mysterious knight of the title.
AYLA (3) f Literature
Created for the novel Clan of the Cave Bear
(1980) by author Jean M. Auel. In the novel Ayla is an orphaned Cro-Magnon girl adopted by Neanderthals. Ayla
is the Neanderthal pronunciation of her real name, which is not given.
BAYARD m Literature
Derived from Old French baiart
meaning "bay coloured"
. In medieval French poetry Bayard was a bay horse owned by Renaud de Montauban and his brothers. The horse could magically adjust its size to carry multiple riders.
BEDIVERE m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Bedwyr
, which is of unknown meaning. In Arthurian legends Bedivere was one of the original companions of King Arthur
. He first appears in early Welsh tales, and his story was later expanded by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century. He is the one who throws the sword Excalibur into the lake at the request of the dying Arthur.
BELPHOEBE f Literature
Combination of belle
"beautiful" and the name PHOEBE
. This name was first used by Edmund Spenser in his poem The Faerie Queene
BENVOLIO m Literature
Means "good will"
in Italian. This name was used by Shakespeare for a friend of Romeo in his play Romeo and Juliet
(1596). The character had been created earlier by the Italian writer Matteo Bandello, whose play Giuletta e Romeo
(1554) was one of Shakespeare's sources.
BILBO m Literature
This was the name of the hero of The Hobbit
(1937) by J. R. R. Tolkien. His real hobbit name was Bilba
, which is of unknown meaning, but this was altered by Tolkien in order to use the more masculine o
ending. In the novel Bilbo Baggins was recruited by the wizard Gandalf
to join the quest to retake Mount Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
BRADAMANTE f Literature
Used by Matteo Maria Boiardo for a female knight in his epic poem Orlando Innamorato
(1483). He possibly intended it to derive from Italian brado
"wild, untamed, natural" and amante
"loving" or perhaps Latin amantis
"lover, sweetheart, mistress", referring to her love for the Saracen Ruggiero
. Bradamante also appears in Ludovico Ariosto's poem Orlando Furioso
(1532) and Handel's opera Alcina
CASPIAN m Literature
Used by author C. S. Lewis for a character in his Chronicles of Narnia
series, first appearing in 1950. Prince Caspian first appears in the fourth book, where he is the rightful king of Narnia driven into exile by his evil uncle Miraz. Lewis probably based the name on the Caspian Sea, which was named for the city of Qazvin, which was itself named for the ancient Cas tribe.
CINDERELLA f Literature
Means "little ashes"
, in part from the French name Cendrillon
. This is the main character in the folk tale Cinderella
about a maltreated young woman who eventually marries a prince. This old story is best known in the English-speaking world from the French author Charles Perrault's 1697 version. She has other names in other languages, usually with the meaning "ashes", such as German Aschenputtel
and Italian Cenerentola
CORALINE f Literature, French
Created by the French composer Adolphe Adam for one of the main characters in his opera Le toréador
(1849). He probably based it on the name CORALIE
. It was also used by the author Neil Gaiman for the young heroine in his novel Coraline
(2002). Gaiman has stated that in this case the name began as a typo of Caroline
COSETTE f French, Literature
From French chosette
meaning "little thing"
. This is the nickname of the illegitimate daughter of Fantine in Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables
(1862). Her real name is Euphrasie
, though it is seldom used. In the novel young Cosette is the ward of the cruel Thénardiers until she is retrieved by Jean Valjean.
CRESSIDA f Literature
Medieval form of CHRYSEIS
. Various medieval tales describe her as a woman of Troy, daughter of Calchus, who leaves her Trojan lover Troilus for the Greek hero Diomedes. Shakespeare's play Troilus and Cressida
(1602) was based on these tales.
CYRANO m Literature
Possibly derived from the name of the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, which was located in North Africa. Edmond Rostand used this name in his play Cyrano de Bergerac
(1897). He based his character upon a real person, Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a French satirist of the 17th century.
DAENERYS f Literature
Created by author George R. R. Martin for a character in his series A Song of Ice and Fire
, first published 1996, and the television adaptation Game of Thrones
(2011-2019). An explanation for the meaning of her name is not provided, though it is presumably intended to be of Valyrian origin. In the series Daenerys Targaryen is a queen of the Dothraki and a claimant to the throne of Westeros.
D'ARTAGNAN m Literature
Means "from Artagnan"
in French, Artagnan being a town in southwest France. This was the name of a character in the novel The Three Musketeers
(1884) by Alexandre Dumas. In the novel D'Artagnan is an aspiring musketeer who first duels with the three title characters and then becomes their friend.
DULCINEA f Literature
Derived from Spanish dulce
. This name was (first?) used by Miguel de Cervantes in his novel Don Quixote
(1605), where it belongs to the love interest of the main character, though she never actually appears in the story.
ELAINE f English, Arthurian Romance
From an Old French form of HELEN
. It appears in Arthurian legend; in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation Le Morte d'Arthur
Elaine was the daughter of Pelleas, the lover of Lancelot
, and the mother of Galahad
. It was not commonly used as an English given name until after the appearance of Tennyson's Arthurian epic Idylls of the King
ELANOR f Literature
Means "star sun"
in Sindarin. In The Lord of the Rings
(1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien this is Sam's eldest daughter, named after a type of flower.
ELMIRA f Literature
Shortened form of EDELMIRA
. It appears in the play Tartuffe
(1664) by the French playwright Molière (often spelled in the French style Elmire
ELROND m Literature
Means "star dome"
in Sindarin. In The Lord of the Rings
(1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Elrond was the elven ruler of Rivendell.
ÉOWYN f Literature
Means "horse joy"
in Old English. This name was invented by J. R. R. Tolkien who used Old English to represent the Rohirric language. In his novel The Lord of the Rings
(1954) Eowyn is the niece of King Theoden of Rohan. She slays the Lord of the Nazgul in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
EPONINE f Literature
Meaning unknown. Victor Hugo used this name in his novel Les Misérables
(1862) for a daughter of the Thénardiers. Her mother got her name from a romance novel.
ESMERALDA f Spanish, Portuguese, English, Literature
in Spanish and Portuguese. Victor Hugo used this name in his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame
(1831), in which Esmeralda is the Gypsy girl who is loved by Quasimodo. It has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world since that time.
FANTINE f Literature
This name was used by Victor Hugo for the mother of Cosette in his novel Les Misérables
(1862). The name was given to her by a passerby who found the young orphan on the street. Hugo may have intended it to be a derivative of the French word enfant
FAUST m Literature
From a German surname that was derived from the Latin name FAUSTUS
. This is the name of a character in German legends about a man who makes a deal with the devil. He is believed to be based on the character of Dr. Johann Faust (1480-1540). His story was adapted by writers such as Christopher Marlowe and Goethe.
FIGARO m Literature
Created by playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais for the central character in his plays The Barber of Seville
(1775), The Marriage of Figaro
(1784) and The Guilty Mother
(1792). Beaumarchais may have based the character's name on the French phrase fils Caron
meaning "son of Caron"
, which was his own nickname and would have been pronounced in a similar way. In modern French the word figaro
has acquired the meaning "barber", reflecting the character's profession.
FLORIMOND m Literature, French
Possibly from Latin florens
meaning "prosperous, flourishing" combined with the Germanic element mund
meaning "protection". This is the name of the prince in some versions of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty
FRODO m Literature
Derived from the Germanic element frod
. This was the name of the hobbit hero in The Lord of the Rings
(1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, who used Old English to translate some hobbit names (Frodo's real name was Maura
). In the novel Frodo Baggins was the bearer of the One Ring on the quest to destroy it in Mount Doom.
GALADRIEL f Literature
Means "maiden crowned with a radiant garland"
in Sindarin. Galadriel was a Noldorin elf princess renowned for her beauty and wisdom in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels. The elements are galad
"radiant" and riel
"garlanded maiden". Alatáriel
is the Quenya form of her name.
GALAHAD m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legend Sir Galahad was the son of Lancelot
. He was the most pure of the Knights of the Round Table, and he was the only one to succeed in finding the Holy Grail. He first appears in the medieval French Lancelot-Grail
GANDALF m Norse Mythology, Literature
Means "wand elf"
in Old Norse, from the elements gandr
"wand, staff, cane" and álfr
"elf". This name belongs to a dwarf in the Völuspá
, a 13th-century Scandinavian manuscript that forms part of the Poetic Edda. The author J. R. R. Tolkien borrowed the name for a wizard in his novels The Hobbit
(1937) and The Lord of the Rings
GARETH m Welsh, English (British), Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. It first appears in this form in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation of Arthurian legends Le Morte d'Arthur
, in which Gareth was a Knight of the Round Table, the brother of Sir Gawain
. Malory based the name on Gahariet
, which was the name of a similar Arthurian character in French sources. It may ultimately have a Welsh origin, possibly related to gwaredd
GAWAIN m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
Meaning uncertain, from the Latin form Walganus
used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth. This was the name of a nephew of King Arthur
and one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He can be identified with the earlier Welsh hero Gwalchmei, and it is likely that the name derives from GWALCHMEI
. Alternatively it may have a different Celtic or even a Germanic origin. Gawain was a popular hero in medieval stories such as the 14th-century romantic poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
GRISELDA f English, Spanish, Literature
Possibly derived from the Germanic elements gris
"grey" and hild
"battle". It is not attested as a Germanic name. This was the name of a patient wife in medieval tales by Boccaccio and Chaucer.
GUINEVERE f Arthurian Romance
From the Norman French form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar
meaning "white phantom"
, ultimately from the Old Celtic roots *windos
meaning "fair, white, blessed" (modern Welsh gwen
) and *sebros
meaning "phantom, magical being". In Arthurian legend she was the beautiful wife of King Arthur
. According to the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, she was seduced by Mordred
before the battle of Camlann, which led to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur. According to the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, she engaged in an adulterous affair with Sir Lancelot
GUIOMAR f & m Portuguese, Spanish, Arthurian Romance
Possibly derived from the Germanic name Wigmar
, which is formed of the elements wig
"war, battle" and mari
"famous". In the medieval Lancelot-Grail
cycle he plays a minor role as a cousin of Guinevere, who banishes him after he becomes a lover of Morgan le Fey. In modern Portugal and Spain it is a feminine name.
GYNETH f Literature
Perhaps a variant of GWYNETH
. Sir Walter Scott used this name for the daughter of King Arthur
in his work The Bridal of Triermain
HAIDEE f Literature
Perhaps intended to derive from Greek αιδοιος (aidoios)
meaning "modest, reverent"
. This name was created by Lord Byron for a character (written as Haidée
) in his poem Don Juan
HAMLET m Literature, Armenian
Anglicized form of the Danish name Amleth
. Shakespeare used this name for the Prince of Denmark in his play Hamlet
(1600), which he based upon earlier Danish tales.
HECTOR m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek ‘Εκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ‘εκτωρ (hektor)
meaning "holding fast"
, ultimately from εχω (echo)
meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles
' friend Patroclus
in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends belonging to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
HERMIA f Literature
Feminine form of HERMES
. Shakespeare used this name in his comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream
IDRIL f Literature
Means "sparkle brilliance"
in Sindarin. In the Silmarillion
(1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Idril was the daughter of Turgon, the king of Gondolin. She escaped the destruction of that place with her husband Tuor
and sailed with him into the west.
IGRAINE f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, from Igerna
, the Latinized form of Welsh Eigyr
. In Arthurian legend she is the mother of King Arthur
by Uther Pendragon and the mother of Morgan
le Fay by Gorlois. The Welsh form Eigyr
was rendered into Latin as Igerna
by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth.
ISOLDE f English (Rare), German, Arthurian Romance
The origins of this name are uncertain, though some Celtic roots have been suggested. It is possible that the name is ultimately Germanic, perhaps from a hypothetic name like Ishild
, composed of the elements is
"ice, iron" and hild
JORAH m Biblical, Literature
From the Hebrew name יוֹרָה (Yorah)
meaning either "he teaches"
. This name is mentioned briefly in the Book of Ezra in the Old Testament. It was used by George R. R. Martin for a character in his fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire
(first published 1996) and the television adaptation Game of Thrones
(2011-2019). It is not known if Martin took the name from the Bible.
KAY (2) m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Cai
, possibly a form of the Roman name GAIUS
. Sir Kay was one of the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend. He first appears in Welsh tales as a brave companion of Arthur. In later medieval tales, notably those by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, he is portrayed as an unrefined boor.
KHALEESI f Literature
From a title used in the George R. R. Martin book series A Song of Ice and Fire
(first published 1996) and the television adaptation Game of Thrones
(2011-2019). It is a feminine form of the Dothraki title khal
meaning "warlord". In the series Daenerys
Targaryen gains this title after she marries Khal Drogo.
LALAGE f Literature
Derived from Greek λαλαγεω (lalageo)
meaning "to babble, to prattle"
. The Roman poet Horace used this name in one of his odes.
LALLA f Literature
Derived from Persian لاله (laleh)
. This was the name of the heroine of Thomas Moore's poem Lalla Rookh
(1817). In the poem, Lalla, the daughter of the emperor of Delhi, listens to a poet sing four tales.
LANCELOT m Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown, possibly an Old French diminutive of Lanzo
). In Arthurian legend Lancelot was the bravest of the Knights of the Round Table. He became the lover of Arthur
's wife Guinevere
, ultimately causing the destruction of Arthur's kingdom. His earliest appearance is in the works of the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes.
LAUNCE m Literature
Short form of Launcelot
, a variant of LANCELOT
. This was the name of a clownish character in Shakespeare's play The Two Gentlemen of Verona
LEGOLAS m Literature
Means "green leaves"
in Sindarin, from laeg
"green" combined with go-lass
"collection of leaves". In The Lord of the Rings
(1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Legolas is the son of the elf lord Thranduil and a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
LESTAT m Literature
Name used by author Anne Rice for a character in her Vampire Chronicles
series of novels, first released in 1976, where it belongs to the French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Rice possibly intended the name to appear derived from Old French or Occitan l'estat "state, status"
, though apparently her husband's name Stan
LORELEI f Literature
From German Loreley
, the name of a rock headland on the Rhine River. It is of uncertain meaning, though the second element is probably old German ley
meaning "rock" (of Celtic origin). German romantic poets and songwriters, beginning with Clemens Brentano in 1801, tell that a maiden named the Lorelei lives on the rock and lures boaters to their death with her song.
LOT (2) m Arthurian Romance
From the name of the region of Lothian in southern Scotland, of unknown meaning. A king of Lothian by this name appears in early Latin and Welsh texts (as Leudonus
respectively). He was inserted into Arthurian legend by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth, who makes him the father of Gawain
LUCASTA f Literature
This name was first used by the poet Richard Lovelace for a collection of poems called Lucasta
(1649). The poems were dedicated to Lucasta, a nickname for the woman he loved Lucy Sacheverel, who he called lux casta "pure light"
LUCINDA f English, Portuguese, Literature
An elaboration of LUCIA
created by Cervantes for his novel Don Quixote
(1605). It was subsequently used by Molière in his play The Doctor in Spite of Himself
MALVINA f Scottish, English, Literature
Created by the poet James MacPherson in the 18th century for a character in his Ossian poems. He probably intended it to mean "smooth brow"
MALVOLIO m Literature
Means "ill will"
in Italian. This name was invented by Shakespeare for a character in his play Twelfth Night
MEDORA f Literature
Created by Lord Byron for a character in his poem The Corsair
(1814). It is not known what inspired Byron to use this name. The year the poem was published, it was used as the middle name of Elizabeth Medora Leigh (1814-1849), a niece and rumoured daughter of Byron.
MEHRAB m Persian, Literature
From مهر (Mehr)
, the Persian word for MITHRA
, combined with Persian آب (ab)
meaning "water". This is the name of the king of Kabul in the 11th-century Persian epic the Shahnameh
MERLIN m Arthurian Romance, English
Form of the Welsh name Myrddin
(meaning "sea fortress"
) used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his 12th-century Arthurian tales. Writing in Latin, he likely chose the form Merlinus
in order to prevent associations with French merde
MERRY (2) m Literature
The name of a hobbit in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings
(1954). His full given name was Meriadoc
, a semi-translation into English of his true hobbit name Kalimac
meaning "jolly, merry"
MIGNON f Literature
Means "cute, darling"
in French. This is the name of a character in Ambroise Thomas's opera Mignon
(1866), which was based on a novel by Goethe.
MORDRED m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From Welsh Medraut
, possibly from Latin moderatus
meaning "controlled, moderated"
. In Arthurian legend Mordred was the illegitimate son (in some versions nephew) of King Arthur
. Mordred first appears briefly (as Medraut
) in the 10th-century Annales Cambriae
, but he was not portrayed as a traitor until the chronicles of the 12th-century Geoffrey of Monmouth. While Arthur is away he seduces his wife Guinevere
and declares himself king. This prompts the battle of Camlann, which leads to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur.
MORGAN (2) f Arthurian Romance
Modern form of Morgen
, which was used by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century for the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, who was unnamed in earlier stories. Geoffrey probably did not derive it from the Welsh masculine name Morgan
, which would have been spelled Morcant
in his time. He may have based it on the Irish name MUIRGEN
NÉLIDA f Literature, Spanish
Created by French author Marie d'Agoult for her semi-autobiographical novel Nélida
(1846), written under the name Daniel Stern. It was probably an anagram of her pen name DANIEL
NEMO m Literature
in Latin. This was the name used by author Jules Verne for the captain of the Nautilus in his novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
(1870). It was later used for the title character (a fish) in the 2003 animated movie Finding Nemo
NERISSA f Literature
Created by Shakespeare for a character in his play The Merchant of Venice
(1596). He possibly took it from Greek Νηρεις (Nereis)
meaning "nymph, sea sprite", ultimately derived from the name of the Greek sea god NEREUS
, who supposedly fathered them.
NESTAN-DAREJAN f Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for a character in his 12th-century epic The Knight in the Panther's Skin
. Rustaveli derived it from the Middle Persian phrase نیست اندر جهان (nist andar jahan)
meaning "unlike any other in the world"
. In the poem Nestan-Darejan is a princess loved by Tariel.
NIMUE f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legends this is the name of a sorceress, also known as the Lady of the Lake, Vivien, or Niniane. Various versions of the tales have Merlin
falling in love with her and becoming imprisoned by her magic. She first appears in the medieval French Lancelot-Grail
NORMA f English, Italian, Literature
Created by Felice Romani for the main character in the opera Norma
(1831). He may have based it on Latin norma
"rule". This name is also frequently used as a feminine form of NORMAN
NYDIA f English (Rare), Spanish, Literature
Used by British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton for a blind flower-seller in his novel The Last Days of Pompeii
(1834). He perhaps based it on Latin nidus
OBERON m Literature
Variant of AUBERON
. Oberon was the king of the fairies in Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream
(1595). A moon of Uranus bears this name in his honour.
OLIVETTE f Literature
Feminine form of OLIVER
. This was the name of the title character in the French opera Les noces d'Olivette
(1879) by Edmond Audran.
OPHELIA f English, Literature
Derived from Greek οφελος (ophelos)
meaning "help, advantage"
. This name was probably created by the 15th-century poet Jacopo Sannazaro for a character in his poem Arcadia
. It was borrowed by Shakespeare for his play Hamlet
(1600), in which it belongs to Hamlet
's lover who eventually goes insane and drowns herself. In spite of this, the name has been used since the 19th century.
ORINTHIA f Literature
Possibly related to Greek ορινω (orino)
meaning "to excite, to agitate"
. George Bernard Shaw used this name in his play The Apple Cart
OSSIAN m Literature
Variant of OISÍN
used by James Macpherson in his epic poems, which he claimed to have based on early Irish legends.
OTHELLO m Literature
Perhaps an Italian diminutive of OTHO
. Shakespeare used this name in his tragedy Othello
(1603), where it belongs to a Moor who is manipulated by Iago
into killing his wife Desdemona
OWAIN m Welsh, Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Probably a Welsh form of EUGENE
, though other theories connect it to Welsh eoghunn
meaning "youth". This was the name of several figures from Welsh history and mythology. In Arthurian legend Owain (also called Yvain
in French sources) was one of the Knights of the Round Table, the son of King Urien and husband of the Lady of the Fountain. His character was based on that of Owain ap Urien, a 6th-century Welsh prince who fought against the Angles. This name was also borne by Owain Glyndwr, a 14th-century leader of Welsh resistance against English rule.
PERCIVAL m Arthurian Romance, English
Created by the 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes for his poem Perceval, the Story of the Grail
. In the poem Perceval was one of King Arthur
's Knights of the Round Table who was given a glimpse of the Holy Grail. The character (and probably the name) of Perceval was based on that of the Welsh hero PEREDUR
. The spelling was perhaps altered under the influence of Old French percer val
"to pierce the valley".
PERDITA f Literature
Derived from Latin perditus
. Shakespeare created this name for the daughter of Hermione in his play The Winter's Tale
PEREDUR m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
Possibly means "hard spears"
in Welsh. This was the name of several figures from Welsh mythology. It was later used by the 12th-century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Arthurian tales. The character of Percival
was probably based on him.
PHILOMEL f Literature
From an English word meaning "nightingale"
(ultimately from PHILOMELA
). It has been used frequently in poetry to denote the bird.
PIPPI f Literature
Created by the daughter of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren for the main character in her mother's Pippi Longstocking
series of stories, first published 1945. In the books Pippi (Swedish name Pippi Långstrump
; full first name Pippilotta
) is a brash and exceptionally strong young girl who lives in a house by herself.
PIPPIN (2) m Literature
The name of a hobbit in The Lord of the Rings
(1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien. His full given name was Peregrin
, a semi-translation into English of his true hobbit name Razanur
RAPUNZEL f Literature
From the name of an edible plant. It is borne by a long-haired young woman locked in a tower in an 1812 German fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm. An evil sorceress gave her the name after she was taken as a baby from her parents, who had stolen the rapunzel plant from the sorceress's garden. The Grimms adapted the story from earlier tales (which used various names for the heroine).
ROHAN (2) f Literature
From the novel The Lord of the Rings
(1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien, where it is a place name meaning "horse country"
RUMPELSTILTSKIN m Literature
From German Rumpelstilzchen
, possibly from German rumpeln
meaning "make noise" and Stelze
meaning "stilt", combined with the diminutive suffix -chen
. It has been suggested that it was inspired by a children's game Rumpele stilt oder der Poppart
mentioned in Johann Fischart's 1577 book Geschichtklitterung
. This name was used by the Brothers Grimm in an 1812 fairy tale about a magical little man (Rumpelstiltskin) who saves a miller's daughter in exchange for her firstborn child. In order to undo the deal, she must guess the man's name. The Grimm's story was based upon earlier European folk tales (which have various names for the little man).
SAM (3) m Literature
The name of a hobbit in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings
(1954). His full given name was Samwise
meaning "half wise"
in Old English (the language used by Tolkien to represent the old hobbit speech).
SHERLOCK m Literature
Used by Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for his character Sherlock Holmes, who was a detective in Doyle's mystery stories beginning in 1887. The character's name was from an English surname meaning "shear lock", originally referring to a person with closely cut hair.
TALIESIN m Welsh, Arthurian Romance
Means "shining brow"
, derived from Welsh tal
"brow" and iesin
"shining". This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh poet and bard. In later Welsh legends he is portrayed as a wizard and prophet, or as a companion of King Arthur
TINATIN f Georgian, Literature
Possibly related to Georgian სინათლე (sinatle)
. The name was devised by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for his 12th-century epic poem The Knight in the Panther's Skin
, in which Tinatin is the ruler of Arabia and the lover of Avtandil
TINUVIEL f Literature
in Sindarin. In the Silmarillion
(1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Tinuviel was the daughter of Thingol the elf king and the beloved of Beren, who with her help retrieved one of the Silmarils from the iron crown of Morgoth.
TITANIA f Literature
Perhaps based on Latin Titanius
meaning "of the Titans"
. This name was (first?) used by Shakespeare in his comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream
(1595) where it is the name of the queen of the fairies. This is also a moon of Uranus, named after the Shakespearean character.
TRISTAN m Welsh, English, French, Arthurian Romance
Old French form of the Pictish name Drustan
, a diminutive of DRUST
. The spelling was altered by association with Latin tristis
"sad". Tristan is a character in medieval French tales, probably inspired by older Celtic legends, and ultimately merged into Arthurian legend. According to the story Tristan was sent to Ireland in order to fetch Isolde
, who was to be the bride of King Mark of Cornwall. On the way back, Tristan and Isolde accidentally drink a potion that makes them fall in love. Their tragic story was very popular in the Middle Ages, and the name has occasionally been used since that time.
TUOR m Literature
Means "strength vigour"
in Sindarin. In the Silmarillion
(1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Tuor was the mortal man who came to the hidden city of Gondolin to warn of its imminent doom. When Gondolin was attacked and destroyed he escaped with his wife Idril
and son Eärendil, and sailed into the west.
TURIN m Literature
Means "victory mood"
in Sindarin. In the Silmarillion
(1977) by J. R. R. Tolkien, Turin was a cursed hero, the slayer of the dragon Glaurung. He was also called Turambar, Mormegil, and other names. This is also the Anglicized name of the city of Torino in Italy.
TYBALT m Literature
Medieval form of THEOBALD
. This is the name of a cousin of Juliet killed by Romeo in Shakespeare's drama Romeo and Juliet
UNDINE f Literature
Derived from Latin unda
. The word undine
was created by the medieval author Paracelsus, who used it for female water spirits.
UTHER m Welsh Mythology, Arthurian Romance
From the Welsh name Uthyr
, derived from Welsh uthr
. In Arthurian legend Uther was the father of King Arthur
. He appears in some early Welsh texts, but is chiefly known from the 12th-century chronicles
of Geoffrey of Monmouth.
VIVIEN (2) f Literature, Hungarian
Used by Alfred Lord Tennyson as the name of the Lady of the Lake in his Arthurian epic Idylls of the King
(1859). Tennyson may have based it on VIVIENNE
, but it possibly arose as a misreading of NINIAN
. A famous bearer was British actress Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), who played Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind
WUKONG m Literature
Means "awakened to emptiness"
, from Chinese 悟 (wù)
meaning "enlightenment, awakening" and 空 (kōng)
meaning "empty, hollow, sky". This is the name of the Monkey King in the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West
ZAÏRE f Literature
Used by Voltaire for the heroine of his tragic play Zaïre
(1732), about a Christian woman enslaved by Muslims. The heroine is named Zara
in some English translations. Voltaire may have based the name on ZAHRAH
ZEMFIRA f Tatar, Bashkir, Literature
Meaning unknown, possibly of Romani origin. This name was (first?) used by Aleksandr Pushkin in his poem The Gypsies
ZULEIKA f Literature
Meaning uncertain, possibly of Arabic origin. According to medieval tradition, notably related by the 15th-century Persian poet Jami, this was the name of the biblical Potiphar's wife. She has been a frequent subject of poems and tales.